WVU launching ‘Anti-Racist and Gender-Inclusive Safe Zone Training’

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University LGBTQ+ Center is launching a new, student-led initiative to promote anti-racist and gender-inclusive practices on campus through a series of training that includes a history of racism, systemic discrimination, the complexities of identity-based on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender, and certain language and resources to know how to intervene in bias, harassment and discrimination.

This is according to a WVU press release, which stated that the funding for this initiative is through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Ellen Rodrigues, interim director of the LGBTQ+ Center, said the training will start in October and that the plan is to train classrooms whose professors request the training and individuals who request it on their own.

We have two goals, one is to develop leadership in students who are already active in, engaging in social justice on campus and also to continue the conversations, right, to promote a better understanding of the intersection of race with sexual orientation and gender identity. We have had a huge request list of classrooms and list of individuals requesting — I think now I have about 59 on our list.

Ellen Rodrigues – Interim Director, LGBTQ+ Center

There are five student leaders who will be leading the training sessions, Rodrigues said and they are currently working on their presentations. The plan is for them to deliver training sessions until March, she added.

This is not the first effort at WVU to promote inclusion, Rodrigues said and it certainly won’t be the last initiative to attempt to do so.

“We encourage people to continue seeking other opportunities to learn and engage in anti-racist practices,” Rodrigues said. “This training is just one of many efforts that has been launched on campus.”

For a full break down of the program, Rodrigues suggest reading the project proposal.

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